Happy Monday—and happy May! The first week of May 2016 is dedicated to two causes that are near and dear to us: Children’s Book Week AND Screen-Free Week.
Children’s Book Week is, as the name implies, a time to celebrate the joy of reading and books for young people. Screen-Free Week, although not explicitly related, nonetheless pairs well with CBW; it is a week to unplug and reevaluate our relationship to the digital world, including television, computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. Studies have shown that too much screen time can be detrimental to children’s health and development; what better way to take a break from those glowing screens than with books?
In celebration of both of these movements, and to help you get started, we’re offering a list of fun alternatives to screen time (although we won’t begrudge anyone the fact that 99.999 percent of the people reading this blog post are doing so on some sort of screen), all of which have been paired with several related picture books. Try a few with your kids this week; you might be surprised at just how easy it is to get by without the devices we’ve come to depend on in so many ways. And don’t forget to stop by blue manatee and pick up a pledge card, as well as any (or all) of the books mentioned below.
Happy reading (and playing)!
Screen-Free Activities & Books
1. Do a craft. Arts and crafts are always a fun and relaxing way to pass the time. Get out your markers, glue, yarn, and whatever else you’d like, and let the creativity flow!
- Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio & Heather Ross
- Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
- I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont & David Catrow
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
2. Play a game. So simple that we often forget about this option. This week, instead of watching TV after dinner, gather your family together to play board games, cards, kickball, or hide-and-seek.
- Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
- Tag! You’re It! by Ethan Long
- Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David A. Adler & Sam Ricks
3. Teach your pet a new trick. We’re willing to bet your kids have endless ideas for the kinds of tricks they’d like to see their pets do. Arm yourself with some treats and have a training session!
- Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
- Sparky! by Jenny Offill & Chris Appelhans
- Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
- Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett
4. Play outside. Climbing trees, digging in the ground, planting flowers, catching fireflies… The list of fun goes on and on. Bonus points for the positive effects nature has on the mind and body.
- Dig In! by Cindy Jenson-Elliott & Mary Peterson
- Rain! by Linda Ashman & Christian Robinson
- Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
- Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
- Ready For Weather by Sarah Jones
5. Use your imagination. Who’s to say that that old refrigerator box isn’t a rocket ship? Or that pinning an old blanket on your shoulders doesn’t make you a superhero? The only rule when it come to imaginative play is that there are no rules.
- Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
- Ladybug Girl by David Soman & Jacky Davis
- Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
- Baby Unplugged Series by Dr. John Hutton & Andrea Kang
6. Go exploring. The amalgamation of numbers 4 and 5. Turn off the TV and tablets and explore a new place, whether it’s as far as the park across town or as close as that one shadowy corner of the basement; it can even be an imaginary world you create with your kids. Who knows what you’ll find?
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
- A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson & David Roberts
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
7. See what’s cooking. Do your kids like to cook? Keep things simple by baking cookies, or for more of a challenge, have them help you find a brand-new recipe for the whole family to try.
- A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins & Sophie Blackall
- Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
- Baking Day at Grandma’s by Anika Denise & Christopher Denise
- Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri
8. Make a new friend. Playing with a real, live friend is often motivation enough to break away from the pull of screens. This week, make it a point to reach out to someone new—for example, inviting the new neighbors to play or striking up a conversation with another family at the park.
- Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka
- Raybot by Adam F. Watkins
- Lloyd Llama by Sarah Jones
- My New Friend Is So Fun! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
9. Be silly! This one’s a bullseye for young kids, who delight in any and all things silly. Sing a silly song, have a dance party in the living room, tell jokes, and be as wacky as you want!
- Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman
- The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
- Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
- Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss
What are some of your family’s favorite screen-free books & activities? Tell us in the comments below!